eschatology, John the Baptist, Responding to the Critics

Seal Vision and Prophecy: The Manifest Desperation of Sam Frost- #5- A Second Look At Acts 1:6f

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Seal Up Vision and Prophecy – The Manifest Desperation of Sam Frost- #5
It is Not For You to Know The Times and the Seasons – Acts 1:6f – Part 2

Be sure to read part #1 of our comments on Acts 1 in response to Sam Frost’s newly found and ever changing theology. He claims that when the disciples asked Jesus “Will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”, and Jesus responded, “It is not for you to know the times and the seasons which the Father has put under His own authority”, this supposedly means that Jesus was telling them that they could not know anything about the time for the establishment of the kingdom. That knowledge was sealed up, says Frost, and will not be known until the actual end comes.

Of course, Frost denies the multitudinous NT statements by those very apostles, who received the Holy Spirit from the Father – who knew the Day and the Hour of the coming of the Kingdom, the parousia and the judgment– who inspired them to say, “The end of all things has drawn near” (1 Peter 4:7). Be sure to read our previous installment on Matthew 24:36 that explores the subject of the Revelatory Spirit and the NT times statements. It is truly sad to see a person turn their back on the testimony of the Scriptures and overtly say that they do not care what the Bible says about the timing of the end as Frost does.

It is interesting, but not unexpected, that Frost’s only response to the previous article was ridicule. He attempted no textual analysis, no exegesis. He said not one word about each of the points that I made. All he did was ridicule the article. Very revealing, very sad.

In ensuing discussion of Acts 1 Frost then made the following “argument.” (I hesitate to even call it an argument since it is so illogical, so irrational, but, it is nonetheless what he offered). He noted that in Acts 1 Jesus said you do not know the time, but, in 1 John 2:18 John said “it is the last hour.” He deduced (but not logically): “we have two categories: what they did in fact KNOW (“dear children it is the last hour”) and what they DID NOT KNOW (“times and seasons” far beyond their own times). THAT DAY is NOT known.” (His emphasis).

This so-called argument totally ignores the very points that I made in the previous article about the revelatory Spirit, sent by the Father who knew the Day and the Hour, the times and the seasons. Acts 1 was prior to the outpouring of the revelatory Spirit, 1 John was written afterward. It is that simple and undeniable. Frost’s “argument” does one thing. It demonstrates in a powerful way that he has abandoned all logic, all reason, any and all attempt at proper exegesis. It proves that he is guilty of just “proof-texting” i.e. taking Biblical comments out of their proper holistic context.

In this installment, I want to point out three indisputable facts that totally (and further) negate Frost’s argument:

☛John the Baptizer taught that the Kingdom was near.

☛John the Baptizer as The Voice, was the herald of the last days salvation of Israel that would come at the Day of the Lord in judgment.

☛John the Baptizer was Elijah who appearance demanded that the judgment and the resurrection was near, in perfect accord with his message of the imminent kingdom.

☛Jesus- Prior to Acts 1– Said the Divinely Appointed Time for the Kingdom Was Near.

Let’s look at each of these points.

John the Baptizer: The Kingdom Has Drawn Near!

Point #1- John the Baptizer said the Kingdom had drawn near:
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’”

Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:2-7).

Words could not be clearer or more emphatic. Now, let’s be clear: John was not setting the day or the hour of the coming of the kingdom and judgment, but, he most assuredly was saying that the kingdom and judgment had drawn near.

In verses 10-12 the imminence of the kingdom and judgment is emphasized when John said “the axe is already at the root”; “his winnowing fork is in his hand.” In my book, Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27, I show that these images are typical Hebraic expressions, used many times in the OT, to speak of impending national judgment.

We cannot overlook the fact that the full establishment of the kingdom and the time of judgment go hand in hand. (See Matthew 16:27-28 / Matthew 25:31f). Thus, for John to say that the judgment was at hand and to likewise say the kingdom had drawn near carried with it definite eschatological overtones that should not be dismissed by the honest student.

John the Baptizer as The Voice and The Time of the Kingdom

Point #2- John the Baptizer Was The Voice Heralding the Day of the Kingdom and the Judgment

John undeniably identified himself as The Voice of one crying in the wilderness, in fulfillment of Isaiah 40. This can hardly be over-emphasized, and it is fatal to Frost’s facile argument.

Read Isaiah 40:1-11:

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people!”
Says your God. “Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, That her warfare is ended, That her iniquity is pardoned; For she has received from the Lord’s hand Double for all her sins.” The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted And every mountain and hill brought low; The crooked places shall be made straight And the rough places smooth; The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, And all flesh shall see it together; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” The voice said, “Cry out!” And he said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.” O Zion, You who bring good tidings, Get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, You who bring good tidings, Lift up your voice with strength, Lift it up, be not afraid; Say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God!” Behold, the Lord God shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him. He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with young.” (Isaiah 40:1-11).

There are several points to be made here, but I will be brief.

✙ This is a prediction of the time of the taking away of Israel’s sin. It is a predecessor prophecy to Daniel 9 and the prediction that within the seventy weeks, Israel’s sin would be taken away. The implications of this are profound.

The taking away of Israel’s sin in Isaiah 40 would be at the Day of the Lord in judgment and the kingdom (v. 10-11).

The taking away of Israel’s sin in Daniel 9 is confined to the seventy weeks.

Therefore, the Day of the Lord in judgment and the kingdom of Isaiah 40 is confined to the seventy weeks.

To follow up on this:
The Day of the Lord in judgment and the kingdom of Isaiah 40 is confined to the seventy weeks of Daniel 9.

But, the Day of the Lord in judgment and the kingdom in Daniel 9 is at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (v. 26-27).

Therefore, the end of the seventy weeks in Daniel 9 was at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

✙ The Voice would herald that Day. Thus, the appearance of The Voice would itself be a sign that the Kingdom and the Judgment was near. And of course, John’s message confirms this: “The Kingdom of heaven has drawn near.”

✙ This is the prediction, as noted, of the coming of the Lord in judgment and the kingdom:

His reward is with him…– This is Isaiah 62:10f. It is the source for Matthew 16:27-28!
His arm shall rule for him- This is the kingdom.

✙ Now, unless Mr. Frost can prove that Isaiah 40 foretold a different coming of the Lord from that in Acts 1:9f, and unless he can prove that in Acts 1 the disciples have a different restoration of the kingdom from that foretold in Isaiah, then the fact that in Acts 1 Jesus was basing his promise of the Spirit on the ministry message of John (as the Voice) this serves as powerful, irrefutable proof that John’s message “The Kingdom of heaven has drawn near” was applicable in Acts 1. Only by ignoring (or denying) the message of John as The Voice can Frost even begin to make a plausible case. Frost’s proof texting of Acts 1 simply reveals his desperation.

John the Baptizer as Elijah and the Times and the Seasons

Point #3- John the Baptizer Was Elijah Who Was to Come Before the Great and Terrible Day of the Lord

“For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” Says the Lord of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this,” Says the Lord of hosts.” (Malachi 4:1-3).

Jesus emphatically identified John the Baptizer as Elijah (Matthew 17:10f). This is incredibly important.

Elijah was to come before the Great And Terrible Day of the Lord (Malachi 4:5-6). He would come before the resurrection! He would proclaim that day of Judgment, in which the Fire of the Lord would consume the wicked and leave them neither root or branch (Malachi 4:1-3). And yet, at that time of judgment, “the Sun of Righteousness” would arise with healing in his wings! This is the promised restoration of the kingdom foretold in Isaiah and in Daniel! It is the time to seal up vision and prophecy!

John’s message in Matthew 3 and other texts is the message that “Elijah” was to proclaim. He promised forgiveness, i.e. healing. He promised the kingdom, i.e. the restoration of the kingdom). He threatened the recalcitrant with the impending judgment, the judgment about to come (v. 7), that would burn up the wicked like chaff. John, as Elijah, was the herald and the sign that the kingdom and the judgment truly was at hand.

As Donald Hagner observed about John’s ministry and message of the “wrath to come”:

““John’s apocalyptic message involves an imminent judgment of the unrighteous in t’s malaises ogres, the coming wrath.’ This eschatological wrath, associated with fulfillment, is further alluded to in v. 10-12. Abundant parallels indicate that this was a fixed component in the Jewish apocalyptic expectation (see esp. Daniel 7:9-11; Isaiah 13:9; Zephaniah 1:15; 2:2-3; Malachi 4:1f). …What frightened John’s listeners was the insistence that the judgment was about to occur (melooses– from mello).” (Donald Hanger, Matthew, Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 33a, (Dallas, Word Publisher, 1993), 50).

Then, commenting on John’s eschatological role, Hagner also says:

“John serves as a transition to the new (order, dkp).” “What has been implied through the quotation of Malachi 3:1 in v. 10 now comes to exact expression: autos eston elias ho mellown erchetai: ‘he himself is Elijah’ the one about to come.’ What is meant here is not that he is Elijah redivivus (which is possibly what John denies according to John 1:21) but that he functions in the role that was ascribed to Elijah just preceding the end time… The expectation of the coming of Elijah prior to the end is found in Sirach 48:10.” … “A correct assessment of the significance of John the Baptist can only be made in relation to Jesus and the kingdom he brings. If Jesus brings the era of the fulfillment of the OT promises, then John is by definition the turning point of the aeons, the last and greatest of the old, announcing and preparing the way for the new kingdom of the messianic king….. “John cannot be Elijah if Jesus is not the Messiah.” (Donald Hagner, Word Biblical Commentary on Matthew 11:14, Vol. 33, (Dallas; Word Publishers, 1993), 308).

So, once again, when in Acts 1 Jesus echoes back to the message of John, there can be no mistake. John’s message was that the kingdom was near. Judgment was coming soon. The harvest (i.e. the resurrection) was at hand. To attempt, as Sam Frost does, to divorce the message of that impending judgment and the imminent kingdom from Acts 1 is the worst sort of proof-texting and abuse of hermeneutic and exegesis. It is not scholarly – on any level.

Jesus and the Time of the Kingdom: The Time Is Fulfilled the Kingdom Has Drawn Near

Point #4 -Jesus- Prior to Acts 1– Said the Divinely Appointed Time for the Kingdom Was Near.

Read Mark 1:13-15
“Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus’ words that “the time is fulfilled” is incredibly significant.

First of all, Jesus did not use the broad, generic word for time (i.e. chronos). He used kairos, which means the divinely appointed time. Jesus was referring to the time appointed by YHVH in the OT prophets for the establishment of the kingdom. This can mean nothing other than the last days were present. The Kingdom truly was – as the text proves – near!

F. F. Bruce then said of Jesus’ words “the time is fulfilled”: “These words express, among other things, the assurance that an ardently desired new order, long since foretold and awaited. was now on the point of realization.” (F. F. Bruce, The Time is Fulfilled, (Exeter; Paternoster Press, 1978), 15). He goes ahead to point out that “the time” – the divinely appointed time that Jesus had in mind was the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, since it is the clearest OT prophecy of the kingdom to be found. What this means is that the time of Daniel 9, to seal up vision prophecy— through fulfillment– had arrived

It is to be noted that Jesus did not just say “the kingdom of heaven is near.” He used the perfect tense in the Greek, which is properly rendered “the kingdom of heaven has drawn near.” What was once not near, had now drawn near. It is an abuse of language, logic and text to say otherwise. Jesus’ own words, with those of John as The Voice and Elijah demand that the kingdom was near prior to Acts 1. Thus, Frost’s contention that in the forty days of instruction concerning the kingdom, Jesus could not have said anything about the timing of the kingdom is revealed to be specious, illogical and false. It is nothing but theological desperation.

All of this goes to show that Jesus’ words in Acts 1: “it is not for you to know the times and the seasons” cannot be taken as either a rejection or a contradiction of the message of John, or, of his own words! Those words cannot negate the message of John or of Jesus! What Jesus said in Acts 1 must be understood within the context of those sayings – not made to deny them as Frost’s position demands.

Let’s summarize what I have presented in these two articles on Acts 1.

I have shown that the OT predicted the outpouring of the Spirit to establish the kingdom. Thus, Jesus’ promise of the impending “not many days hence” outpouring of the Spirit was itself a prediction of the imminent establishment of the kingdom. Frost said not one word in response to this.

I pointed out the revelatory nature of the Holy Spirit. I mean by that when Jesus said the words in Acts 1, the Spirit had not yet been given. Yet, just a few days later, the Spirit was given, and Jesus had said (John 16) that the Spirit would “shew you things to come.” Those apostles, inspired by the Spirit then wrote and said that the end of the age, the coming of the Lord and the resurrection was near. The point is that in stark contrast to Mr. Frost’s claims, the NT writers tell us that they did in fact know what time it was. Frost’s response? Silence.

I called attention briefly to the fact that John the Baptizer was Elijah and the implications for understanding the time of the kingdom are profound. In this article I have further developed this incredibly important topic. As The Voice (and The Messenger of Malachi 3) and Elijah, the ministry of John meant one thing: The kingdom of heaven had drawn near. The end of the age was at hand. The resurrection was imminent.

The fact is that the two articles I have presented prove beyond doubt that Sam Frost is guilty in the worst sort of way, of proof texting. He lifts a statement out of its context; he ignores the context in which it was given. He ignores the prophecies that have a direct bearing on understanding Jesus’ words. He ignores the eschatological role of John as Elijah and as The Voice (not to mention John as The Messenger!). In fact, Frost ignores, rejects or distorts all of the relevant data necessary for properly understanding Jesus’ words. His desperation is undeniable and manifest.

Be sure to get a copy of my book: Elijah Has Come: A Solution to Romans 11:25-27. It is a powerful demonstration that the ministry and message of John the Baptizer as The Voice, The Messenger and Elijah is foundational and critical for a proper understanding of NT eschatology. There is not another book like it, anywhere!

Elijah Has Come!
John the Baptizer’s role as The Voice, the Messenger and Elijah is irrefutable proof that the Day of the Lord, judgment and Resurrection were for the first century.